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Construction Lawyer in Brighton

We have a specialist team of in-house construction lawyers with years of experience in helping individuals and SME construction companies handle or avoid claims. What’s more is that our construction claims management and generous funding structures allow many small contractors to assert their rights against listed companies.

Complex contracts set out by large companies can often leave individuals, subcontractors or small contractors accepting less payment than they’re truly entitled to due to a lack of legal expertise and not knowing how to deal with complicated excuses for delayed or non-payment.

In construction disputes, it’s essential that you gain experienced construction advisory – general contract and commercial law doesn’t cover the complexity of construction cases. Our team can help you settle building disputes if you’re not sure which route to take or feel you’re being denied what you’re rightfully owed.

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What We Can Do

Construction disputes of all shapes and sizes are not uncommon due to the complexity of building jobs – but there are plenty of different ways to settle the matter. Our specialist construction dispute lawyers are able to give expert advice and maximise your recovery in the following areas:

Interim Payments

In large projects, interim payments are made throughout the construction period before final accounts are decided. If you feel your payment has been unjustly delayed, is too small, or need help constructing or serving notices, seek legal advice from Helix Law today.

Retention Recovery

Recovering retention money after a job is complete can sometimes be made difficult – large companies can make excuses to delay repayment or to avoid paying altogether. Helix Law has helped countless contractors win back their rightful retention, No Win No Fee.

Final Account Disputes

Final accounts in construction are often called into question, especially in large projects that have taken a long time to complete. These types of projects can involve hundreds of people and things can get very complicated. Helix Law can help you ascertain what you should receive from a final account and help you resolve disputes. If you are involved in a dispute over defects, contact us for specialist construction contract advice that could help you recover more money.

Dispute Resolution

Sometimes adjudication is not your best option. Our construction lawyers can advise which method of construction dispute resolution is right for you, whether that be arbitration, mediation, litigation or other. Contact us today for advice on which course of action best fits your case.

Adjudication

Our construction solicitors have assisted in dozens of adjudication cases. We can help you achieve the best result from your adjudication process, or even avoid adjudication all together. If you have been served a Notice of Intention or would like to issue one yourself, it is crucial that your adviser is a construction law specialist. Call on ours at Helix Law.

Payment Structures

We offer many of our construction dispute resolution services on a No Win No Fee Basis, allowing better accessibility to expert construction legal advice. Other funding structures we offer include fixed fees, monthly payments and damages based agreements (DBAs). We will help you ascertain which method is right for you.

To find out more about our payment options, see our Costs page or speak to our team.

We also manage a community by the name of Construction Network.

Construction Network brings together construction professionals to network and to share knowledge. Each meeting will seek to discuss common contractual problems and offer practical solutions. Join the network below;

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Meet the Helix Law team

Contact Helix Law on 01273 761 990 or email: [email protected]

Construction Law FAQ

CAN I SUSPEND WORK IF I’M NOT BEING PAID?

Unfortunately, there are times when a contractor or employer breaches their contractual obligations or violates agreed payment terms – this is sadly not uncommon in contractual construction work. Most of the time in such situations, the contractor rightly seeks to suspend the work. After all, they should not be expected to work without being paid. However, problems can be encountered here if suspending work is not in accordance with the contract. 

Where a contract is silent, laws are in place to protect contractors who suspend their work when they’re not paid. The laws can also allow them to claim damages and compensation as a result of having to suspend the work. However, to do this you must take the proper legal route when suspending work. If you don’t, you could be liable for considerable legal costs and damages. This can be the case even where the client wrongly withheld the payments or tries to terminate the contract. 

The Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 lays out your rights as a subcontractor or contractor irrespective of the contract. Section 112 (explained below) details the right to suspend work in construction. It makes clear the procedures you should follow when suspending work for non-payment. There are additional conditions that you must satisfy as the party suspending work due to non-payment. These additional conditions are stated in Sections 110 and 111, and need to be met to comply with the law. Also, be aware that the Act doesn’t apply to every construction job – for example, any involving residential occupiers are excluded.

The legal complexity of this issue is why we highly recommend that you get legal advice from our specialists in construction law before suspending work. This way you can’t be counter-sued for failing to follow the correct procedures and will be eligible to receive any due compensation.

Below is Section 112 in full, detailing the right to suspend work in construction:

Section 112: right to suspend performance for non-payment

1) Where the requirement in section 111(1) applies in relation to any sum but is not complied with, the person to whom the sum is due has the right (without prejudice to any other right or remedy) to suspend performance of any or all of his obligations under the contract to the party by whom payment ought to have been made (“the party in default”). 

2) The right may not be exercised without first giving to the party in default at least seven days’ notice to suspend performance. 

3) The right to suspend performance ceases when the party in default makes payment in full of the sum referred to in subsection (1).

(3A) Where the right conferred by this section is exercised, the party in default shall be liable to pay to the party exercising the right a reasonable amount in respect of costs and expenses reasonably incurred by that party as a result of the exercise of the right.

4) Any period during which performance is suspended in pursuance of, or in consequence of the exercise of, the right conferred by this section shall be disregarded in computing for the purposes of any contractual time limit the time taken, by the party exercising the right or by a third party, to complete any work directly or indirectly affected by the exercise of the right.

Where the contractual time limit is set by reference to a date rather than a period, the date shall be adjusted accordingly.

To summarise, Section 112 shows that you may legally suspend work under two conditions. First, you need to have satisfied the requirements detailed in Section 111. Second, before ceasing to work you must give 7 days’ notice in writing to the contractor or employer. This part is very important – if you do not give them the stated notice, you can be held liable for damages. This fact remains even if you were not paid in accordance with the contract.

Subsection 3 shows that the right to suspend performance ends when the contractor or employer pays you in full. The payment may include an additional sum covering costs incurred during suspension. Getting legal counsel can help you ensure that you are repaid the full amount due for the work done and any additional costs or damages related to the suspension. 

The final point in Section 112 details that the time period in which the work was suspended does not constitute a part of any contracted time limit. For instance, if the contract states that the work should finish within 12 months, a period of suspension of work (following correct procedures) lasting 4 months would not be counted as a part of those 12 months. 

To conclude: it’s recommended that you definitely seek legal advice and opinion before suspending work due to non-payment. Your right to suspend construction work when you are not paid is certainly a leveraging tool, but ONLY if you correctly follow the procedures in place to protect you. Most cases are extremely complex and therefore require professional legal analysis to find the best course of action. One wrong step could end with you paying a fortune in damages and legal fees and cause many other problems. Before suspending construction work, contact our construction lawyers for advice. 

 

HOW DO I RECOVER RETENTION MONEY FROM A CONSTRUCTION JOB?

Retention is a sum of money commonly held back by the contractor or employer to ensure they can afford to pay for any defects in a job. It’s also used as a method to keep contractors/subcontractors motivated to do the best job they can – if they don’t, they may not recover their retention payment. But what if you complete a job to the required standard with no defects, and still don’t receive your retention money? 

The standard procedure for receiving retention money should go like this:

  • The contractor calculates the due dates for payments on their contract
  • The contractor sends the employer a notice in the way specified in the contract for retention release
  • The employer responds either by paying the sum payable or issuing a notice to pay less 

For more, see our Retention Recovery page. 

If you follow all the correct procedures to release your retention but the employer does not respond, you should seek legal advice. 

If your money is being withheld unfairly, Helix Law can help. We work with contractors and businesses to recover the retention money they’re owed upon satisfactory completion of a construction job. We’re retention recovery experts – we know how to diagnose retention disputes and how to fight for your money back. 

If it is found that your retention money was wrongfully withheld, we’re happy to offer a No Win No Fee recovery. 

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’VE RECEIVED A NOTICE OF ADJUDICATION?

If you have received a notice of intention to refer a construction dispute to an adjudicator, you should act fast. After the first notice of adjudication, you will be served a referral notice within seven days but it will usually be later the same day. This will explain the aggrieved party’s claim. The length of the referral notice will depend on the complexity of the claim. 

The length of the notice matters because, no matter how long it is, you will usually only have seven days to respond with your defence. Any extension will be limited as the whole process must be completed in 28 days. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a specialist construction law solicitor as soon as possible so that you can create a strong defence. Helix Law aim to respond to email queries within one hour (during daytime working hours) – contact us now if you have received a notice of adjudication.

Contact Helix Law on 01273 761 990 or email: [email protected]